Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/08/13

It has been another good week down on the farm. Eric Jokisch notched a no-hitter on Tuesday. Javier Baez stayed hot at the plate and Mike Olt went yard for the first time in an I-Cubs’ uniform. Kris Bryant ran his hitting streak to 10 games before Boise took a break for the All-Star game. And after a slow start, Bryant is hitting .292/.352/.583/.935 with five doubles and three home runs in 13 games.

LHP Rob Zastryzny received a promotion and recently drafted Cael Brockmeyer was sent all the way from Boise to Iowa to help relieve Iowa’s catching woes.

Congratulations are in order for the VSL Cubs as they ended their season by appearing in the Venezuelan Summer League Championship. This week’s other notable performer was Edgar Gonzalez, who hit three home runs in a game for the Iowa Cubs.

Note: Monday’s report covers games from Wednesday to Saturday and Thursday’s report covers games Sunday through Tuesday.

Short-Season A – Boise Hawks (6-7) (27-24)

(W) After falling behind 5-1 on Sunday, Boise exploded for nine runs and topped Everett 10-5. The Hawks’ first run came in the third inning after Rony Rodriguez (3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI) blasted a solo home run. David Bote (2-for-4) led off the fifth with a single and moved to third on a double by Kris Bryant (3-for-5 with two RBI). Rodriguez was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A single by Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-5 with two RBI) drove in both Bote and Bryant. Boise took the lead in the sixth as they loaded the bases after a single by Trevor Gretzky (1-for-5) was sandwiched by walks to Jordan Hankins (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) and Bote. A base hit by Bryant scored Hankins and Gretzky, while a single by Jacob Rogers (1-for-4, RBI) plated Bote. The Hawks added four in the ninth after Bryant doubled and scored on Rodriguez’s second homer of the game. Justin Marra (1-for-5) singled and scored on Hankins’ first home run of his career.

Rob Zastryzny had his first rough outing of the season. Zastryzny allowed four earned runs, but struck out five, in 2.1 innings. Carlos Martinez-Pumarino replaced Zastryzny and struck out two while giving up an earned run in 1.2 innings. Both Sam Wilson and Zack Godley tossed two scoreless innings and struck out three batters each. Tyler Bremer mopped up with a 1-2-3 ninth.

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Boise took time off for the All-Star break and resumed play on Thursday. See the section below for the All-Star results.

Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (15-28) (45–64)

(L) There’s no other way of putting it, Kane County was given a good, old-fashioned butt-whipping on Sunday and lost 11-1 to Clinton. Tyler Skulina started his first game for the Cougars. Skulina allowed three earned runs and struck out a batter in two innings. Justin Amlung tossed the next two innings and gave up an earned run while striking out a batter. Jose Rosario then surrendered seven earned runs in three innings. Steve Perakslis mopped up with a scoreless inning. Kane County’s lone run came in the sixth when Oliver Zapata (1-for-3) reached on a one out single and scored on a double by Jose Dore (1-for-2 with a RBI).

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(L) Kane County may have been looking for the fastest way out of Clinton after they were blown out 12-4 on Monday. Felix Pena was asked to eat some innings and he allowed eight earned runs in six innings with five strikeouts. Nathan Dorris didn’t fare much better and gave up four earned runs in two innings. The Cougars actually led in the game after Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4 with a home run) hit his eighth home run of the season in the first inning. Marco Hernandez reached on an error to start the seventh, and Giuseppe Papaccio (1-for-3) followed with a single. Hernandez scored on a throwing error on a pick-off attempt. Kane County added two in the ninth when Rock Shoulders walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A double by Carlos Escobar (1-for-2 with a RBI) scored Shoulders. After walks to Jose Dore and Reggie Golden, Escobar scored on a wild pitch.

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(W) The Cougars were finally able to break through on Tuesday and they beat Clinton 6-2. After allowing the Lumber Kings to go up 1-0, Kane County responded with three runs in the third after Gioskar Amaya (3-for-5 with a RBI) led off with a single and scored when Oliver Zapata (2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) hit his sixth home run. Dan Vogelbach (1-for-5) restarted thing s with a double and reached third on a single by Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3). A two out base hit by Marco Hernandez (1-for-3 with a RBI) plated Vogelbach. In the sixth, doubles by Carlos Escobar (2-for-4) and Amaya led to another run. Kane County iced it in the ninth when Reggie Golden (1-for-4 with a home run) led off with a solo shot. Amaya then singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a base hit by Zapata.

Tayler Scott had a workman type effort as he allowed two earned runs on six hits and three walks in five innings. Andrew McKirahan struck out two in two scoreless innings. Al Yevoli and Michael Hamann both tossed a scoreless inning.

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (22-14-1) (57-45-1)

The weather in Florida has not been kind to the Daytona Cubs, as games on Sunday and Monday were postponed and cancelled. Tuesday was a scheduled off-day and the D-Cubs returned to action after another rain delay on Wednesday.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (25-19) (59-54)

(L) Things were almost over before the seats got warm on Sunday as Tennessee lost 10-4 to Jacksonville. A.J. Morris simply had one of the worst outings of his career. Morris allowed seven earned runs in 1.1 innings. P.J. Francescon was not much better. Francescon gave up three earned runs in 2.2 innings. Jeffry Antigua was able to restore some semblance of order by tossing three scoreless innings, while Frank Batista struck out two as he set down the side in order in the eighth. The Smokies tried to mount some offense after Francescon started the third inning reaching on fielding error. Brett Jackson (2-for-4) singled and both runners scored on a double by Javier Baez (3-for-4 with two RBI). In the fifth, base hits by Nate Samson (1-for-3) and Jackson started the inning, and a single by Baez loaded the bases. Samson scored on a sacrifice fly, and a single by Christian Villanueva (1-for-3 with a RBI) plated Jackson.

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(L) Pitching was Tennessee’s undoing on Monday as the Smokies lost 6-4 to Jacksonville. Matt Loosen is struggling again in the Southern League. Loosen allowed five earned runs and struck out four in three innings. Hunter Cervenka held the Suns scoreless for two innings, while Dayan Diaz was touched for an earned run to go along with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings. Tony Zych shut out Jacksonville for the final 1.1 innings. The Smokies answered a Jacksonville home run in the second after Christian Villanueva (1-for-5) reached on an error to start the inning and Jonathan Mota (1-for-3) walked. Loosen drove in the run with his first hit of the season. Tennessee moved closer in the fourth after Mota singled and pinch-hitter Nate Samson (1-for-1) had a one out base hit. Matt Szczur (1-for-5) reached on a force, and Mota scored on a single by John Andreoli (3-for-4 with two RBI). Javier Baez (2-for-4 with a RBI) drove in Szczur with a base hit. Tennessee cut the deficit to one in the sixth inning after consecutive singles by Rubi Silva (2-for-2), Szczur, and Andreoli scored Silva.

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(W) Eric Jokisch (2-for-4 with a RBI) tossed the second no-hitter in the Cubs’ minor leagues this season on Tuesday, as Tennessee defeated Jacksonville 10-0. Both the offense and defense had big assists in Jokisch’s feat. The Smokies gave Jokisch a 3-0 cushion in the first inning after Matt Szczur (2-for-5) led off the game with a double and scored on a single by Rubi Silva (3-for-5 with a RBI). A double from Javier Baez (4-for-6 with three RBI) scored Silva. Baez stole third and scored on a single by Rafael Lopez (2-for-4 with a RBI). Jokisch helped his own cause in the second. Jokisch reached on a one-out single. Back-to-back base hits by Silva and Baez plated Jokisch. A two out walk to John Andreoli and a base hit from Jonathan Mota (2-for-5 with two RBI) put runners on in the third inning. Andreoli and Mota then completed a successful double-steal and a single by Jokisch scored Andreoli. Singles by Baez and Justin Bour (1-for-5) started the fourth inning. Lopez was intentionally walked to load the bases. Baez touched home on a sacrifice fly, and a double by Mota scored Bour and Lopez. The fifth inning saw Silva reach on a one out single and score on a double from Javier Baez. A passed ball allowed Baez to score.

However, it was all Eric Jokisch on the mound, as the lefty walked four, struck out eight batters and held the Suns hitless for nine innings. Jokisch received help with great diving catches by Christian Villanueva and Javier Baez in the ninth before inducing a groundout to complete his no-hitter.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (52-64)

(W) It was a good day for Iowa on Sunday as they lit up super-prospect Taijuan Walker and beat Tacoma 8-4. Buoyed by his recent start for the parent club, Jake Arrieta rose to the occasion and struck out 11 batters in five scoreless innings. Alberto Cabrera’s struggles continued as he allowed two earned runs with three strikeouts in two innings. Chang-Yong Lim tossed a scoreless inning, but Brian Schlitter gave up two earned runs in the ninth.

The I-Cubs pounced on mistakes by the Rainiers early after Jae-Hoon Ha (3-for-5 with three RBI) reached on a one out single in the first. Edgar Gonzalez (1-for-5) reached on a fielding error and promptly stole second base. Dave Sappelt walked to load the bases. Mike Olt (2-for-5 with two RBI) doubled in Ha and Gonzalez. One out singles by J.C. Boscan (2-for-4) and Darnell McDonald (2-for-5) started the second inning. Jae-Hoon Ha ripped a double that plated both runners. A double by Brad Nelson (1-for-4 with two RBI) scored Ha. McDonald led off the fourth inning with a double and scored on a single by Jae-Hoon Ha. Iowa didn’t let up after Sappelt walked to start the seventh and moved to third on a double by Danny Lockhart (2-for-5), fresh up from the Boise Hawks. A wild pitch scored Sappelt. In the eighth, McDonald singled and moved to third on a fielding error that allowed Ha to reach first. McDonald scored on a sacrifice fly.

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(L) The Iowa offense was not able to overcome their pitching as they lost 6-5 to Tacoma on Monday. Justin Grimm was looking for his first win since coming from the Rangers’ organization. Grimm allowed five runs (four earned) while striking out eight in six innings. Casey Coleman took over and held the Rainiers in check before giving up the winning run with one out in the ninth. The I-Cubs struck first after Darnell McDonald (4-for-5 with a home run) led off the game with a solo home run. Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4) followed with a double and scored on a throwing error. The second inning saw Danny Lockhart (2-for-4) hit a two out single, steal second base and advance to third on a throwing error. A single by Luis Flores (1-for-1 with a RBI) plated Lockhart. Brad Nelson (2-for-4 with a home run) pulled Iowa to within a run in the fifth inning with a solo home run. The I-Cubs tied things up in the seventh after Edwin Maysonet reached on an error and scored on a single by Ty Wright (1-for-5 with a RBI).

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(W) It was a good, old-fashioned blow-out as Iowa walloped six home runs and beat Tacoma 10-3 on Tuesday. Darnell McDonald (2-for-6 with a home run and two RBI) started the second game in a row with a leadoff home run. Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-5) followed with a single and scored on a home run by Edgar Gonzalez (5-for-6 with three home runs and four RBI). Mike Olt (1-for-2 with a home run) started the fourth inning with a walk and advanced to second on a walk to Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-3). A single by McDonald scored Olt. Gonzalez began the fifth inning with a solo home run. Ty Wright (3-for-5) and Dave Sappelt (2-for-6 with a home run and two RBI) restarted the inning with singles, and Olt loaded the bases with a walk. Wright then scored on a sacrifice fly. In the sixth inning, Wright worked a pop-up into a double, and then scored on a home run off the bat of Dave Sappelt. Mike Olt then followed with the fifth home run of the day. Not done for the day, Gonzalez belted a solo homer in the seventh for his third longball and the team’s sixth home run of the game.

Yoanner Negrin got the start in what appeared to be a bullpen day and was up for the task. Negrin struck out seven and allowed two runs (one earned) in four innings. Nick Struck got an easy win as he tossed a scoreless inning. Marcus Hatley was the next pitcher in the one and done pattern. Hatley recorded two strikeouts and gave up an earned run. Marcos Mateo struck out two batters. Chang-Yong Lim and Brian Schlitter recorded a strikeout apiece in their inning of work.

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Rookie League – AZL Cubs (5-5) (18-20)

After base hits by Jesse Hodges, Kelvin Freeman and Charcer Burks in the eighth inning, Mark Malave and Alberto Mineo drove in three runs and put the Cubs over the top against the A’s on Sunday 7-3. Ryan Searle allowed two runs (one earned) in an inning while Orbandy Rodriguez earned the victory with three strikeouts in two scoreless innings.

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The Cubs answered the Indians two runs in the seventh with three of their own as they won 4-3 on Monday. Gerardo Concepcion was shaky in 1.2 innings but allowed only an unearned run. Tyler Ihrig pitched a scoreless inning to raise his record to 2-0. Kelvin Freeman was 1-for-3 and drove in two runs while Francisco Sanchez (2-for-4 with a double) also drove in a run.

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A rally by the Cubs in the ninth inning fell short on Tuesday and they fell 2-1 to the Dodgers. Trevor Graham struck out three over three scoreless innings. Usually reliable reliever Dave Villegas was hit for two earned runs as he struck out five in three innings. Wilfredo Petit (2-for-4 with a double) drove in Kevin Brown (2-for-4) with the Cubs’ only run.

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Dominican Summer League

The DSL Cubs maintained first place in the Boca Chica South Division as their record now stands at 37-18. Second baseman Dalfis Otiz is third in the league with a .347 average that includes a home run, 26 RBI, and 14 stolen bases.  Outfielder Shamil Ubiera has now taken over the league lead with 49 RBI, and is hitting .294 with four home runs and 11 stolen bases. Third baseman Adonis Paula has moved into third in the league with 41 RBI to go along with a .291 average and five home runs. Outfielder Jenner Emeterio remains third in the DSL with 30 stolen bases and improved his average to .241 with a home run and 19 RBI. The Cubs are now sixth in the DSL in team ERA. Eighteen-year old lefty Jose Paulino is seventh in the league with 57 strikeouts, to go along with 4-3 record, a 2.93 ERA, and a 1.09 WHIP. Jose Zapata remains the staff leader with a 0.88 WHIP with an ERA of 2.57 to go along with a 3-0 record that includes 35 strikeouts in 42 innings.

Venezuelan Summer League

The VSL Cubs finished the regular season with a 36-31 record, good for second place and a spot in the best-of five championship series with the VSL Mariners. Infielder/outfielder Roney Alcala won the league batting title by hitting .353, and the RBI title with 49 while finishing sixth in home runs with nine. Outfielder Delbis Arcila finished third in the league with 10 home runs, fourth with 42 RBI, and sixth with a .321 average. Outfielder Arnaldo Calero was ninth with 33 RBI, and his .297 average and five home runs were both good for 12th in the league. Calero’s 12 stolen bases were ninth, while shortstop/second baseman Bryant Flete was fifth with 17 stolen bases. Flete hit .267 while driving in 22 runs. Right-hander Adbert Alzolay won the league ERA crown with a 1.07 earned run average and finished first with a 0.88 WHIP. Alzolay went 5-3 on the season and his 61 strikeouts were good for third in the league. Francisco Carrillo was third with an 8-3 record and seventh in the league with 53 strikeouts. Carrillo had a 1.03 WHIP and a 2.09 ERA.

Unfortunately, the Cubs were swept in the championship series by the Mariners 7-3 and 11-8 in 12 innings.

Northwest League All-Star Game

A ninth inning rally and a combined scoreless inning by Boise Hawks pitchers James Pugliese and Tyler Bremer aided the South Division to an 8-7 win. Pugliese and Bremer each had a strikeout as they throttled the North in the ninth inning. Bremer was awarded the save. The South was down 7-4 in the fifth inning when Boise first baseman Jacob Rogers (1-for-3 with a RBI) stroked an RBI single to help set up the dramatic ninth. Outfielder Yasiel Balaguert and shortstop Carlos Penalver were each 0-for-2, while IF/OF David Bote went 0-for-1.

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News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs optioned RHP Eduardo Sanchez to the Iowa Cubs; assigned C Cael Brockmeyer to the Iowa Cubs from the Boise Hawks; assigned LHP Rob Zastryzny to the Kane County Cougars from the Boise Hawks; assigned RHP Jose Arias to the Boise Hawks from the AZL Cubs; assigned RHP Brad Renner to the AZL Cubs.

The Iowa Cubs placed RHP Barret Loux on the 7-Day disabled list retroactive to August 3. The Tennessee Smokies released RHP Kevin Rhoderick; activated LHP Eric Jokisch from the 7-Day disabled list; sent RHP Trey McNutt to the AZL Cubs on a rehab assignment. The Kane County Cougars placed OF Albert Almora on the 7-Day disabled list retroactive to August 5. The AZL Cubs placed RHP Zak Hermans and LHP Anthony Prieto on the 7-Day disabled list.

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Quote of the Day

"The riches of the game are in the thrills, not in the money." – Ernie Banks

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  • CubbyDenCritic

    Donnie Murphy has more HR’s & RBI’s than Soriano has with the Yankees.

    • J Daniel

      Let’s face it, we can continue to debate if it was a good trade or not. Bottom line, IMO, it was a good move. Are the short a bat, yes! The money saved in itself was good value as it will be used to sign someone else for next year.

      I think most liked Sori but it took awhile. 3-4 years ago everyone wanted him moved for a cracked bat and a pile of old balls. Obviously that changed … But so did expectations with the team. IMO if the expectations were still high, and the club was still good and in contention, he wouldn’t look as good and many fans would be upset with him. He became the best player on a bad team … Reminds me of Dave Kingman back in the day.

      Sori is basically the same guy, probably better defensively, but perception has changed.

  • J Daniel

    Where should Bryant start next season? Due to his 3 seasons in college, and with a winter of work, can he be in Tennessee or Iowa?

    • Theboardrider

      Probably depends to a degree on Villanueva and Olt.

      • J Daniel

        Probably Olt but not sure on Villanueva. If he is one of the top prospects they need to put him where he belongs and adjust everyone else.

        • Tom U

          A lot may depend on who is playing other positions. Think of Villanueva as a better hitting, better fielding Vance Law.

          When the Cubs were getting great offensive production out of Sanberg and Dunston in the 80’s, having a third baseman that fielded the position and chipped in offensively was acceptable. If the current Cubs can have that same situation, you can live with Villanueva at third.

          • Theboardrider

            I definitely don’t want Vance Law as a long term solution. But he could fill in for a couple years. Tom, are you saying Villanueva will hold his gloves in his hands when he gets on base?

          • 07GreyDigger

            I’m guessing with Bryant, Olt and Baez in the organization, Villanueva is playing himself into being trade bait.

  • Dorasaga

    I know I’m ignorance when it comes to Major League baseball operation in the Caribbean, because my Spanish ability is nil. I barely know tapas and tacos. But why are there TWO Cubs teams in the same league down at DOM, ”

    Dominican Summer League Boca Chica South”??? Five other ML ballclubs own two teams, but they are all in separate leagues. It’s also weird that the Cubs Team “2” does not have any roster on their official site.

    • Tom U

      The Cubs moved one of the their two DSL teams to the Venezuelan Summer League this season. MiLB has just been slow to change.

  • Tom U

    For those who may have missed it last night, the Cubs are now trying Double-A OF Johermyn Chavez as a pitcher.

    There had been talk of making this conversion when the Cubs signed the 24 year old out of the Seattle organization. His .216 and .232 batting averages at Double-A the past two seasons fueled the speculation.

    But the Cubs decided to give him one more shot in the OF, and he hit .206 for Tennessee in 24 games before going on the DL in early May.

    Converting to pitching is usually considered to be the last act of desperation in salvaging a player. The problem is usually that while they may have a decent fastball, the players usually don’t have the secondary pitches.

    The Cubs have not had success in this process recently, with players such as Kyler Burke, Lendy Castillo, Matt Spencer, Luke Sommer, and Charles Thomas failing to make the grade.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      I believe Kevin Foster was a third baseman before he became a pitcher.

      • Tom U

        Both Foster and Jim Bullinger were infielders, along with Randy Wells and Carlos Marmol being catchers

    • CubbyDenCritic

      So does this mean that Kyler Burke, Lendy Castillo, Matt Spencer, Luke Sommer, and Charles Thomas all became “Belly Itcher’s” ?………Oh, I could not resist.

    • cubtex

      They need to find a Kenley Jansen. What a hell of a conversion that guy is!

      • Tom U

        Jansen was converted while he was still relatively young, making the switch when he was 21.

        The Cubs have had some success with Marcus Hatley, as he was mainly an outfielder when the Cubs drafted him in 2006. However, Hatley was 19 when he was switched and has only pitched in the organization.

  • Christian2334

    Tom, what happened to Ryan McNeil? I can’t find any reports or anything of an injury. I was really hoping to see him pitch this season, I think he has great stuff.

    • Tom U

      McNeil is out for the season after arm surgery. I do not have any specifics, so it could either be his shoulder or elbow.

      I, too, am disappointed, as he was a leading candidate to be Boise’s opening day starter.